Earlier this year, Jason Voorhees returned with a vengeance. Platinum Dunes’ reboot of the “Friday the 13th” franchise slashed its way to a $19 million opening day on Friday, February 13, on its way to a $40-plus million opening weekend.
“You can never expect that to happen,” acknowledges producer Brad Fuller. “We can’t imagine that we’ll ever have an opening like that again. We’ve love to, but that’s one for the record books.”
But records are made to be broken and Platinum Dunes is in development on a “Friday the 13th” sequel, with Damian Shannon and Mark Swift working on a script.
Speaking with a select group of reporters on the set of their upcoming remake/reboot of “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” Fuller and producing partner Andrew Form sound proud of the achievement on the first “Friday the 13th” film.
“We did love the movie,” Fuller says. “It felt like the movie came out at a time where there were a lot of very down horror movies and upsetting horror movies and we had a great date, obviously and the movie, it was a party. You know, we went to theaters. We watched it. It was a party in the theaters. Audiences were screaming at it and loving it. It was one of those fun horror experiences and I think that for audience members who were looking for the same DNA as the original “Friday the 13ths,” they were very satisfied with that and for people who were looking to pick us apart, and there are a couple of those. This will come as a shock to you, but there are. They were disappointed with it. But at the end of the day, I think it’s a really fun horror movie and it’s not so gristly that it becomes fetishishy and eliminates a good portion of the audience.”
That doesn’t mean, though, that the producers are without ideas on how to make a sequel top the achievement of the first movie, which delivered roughly two-thirds of its box office gross in that initial weekend, with nearly a third coming on opening night.
“If we’re vulnerable on [the first film], it’s that people thought our kills weren’t clever enough, so whatever we need to do to make those kills seem clever in the second film is what we’re going to do,” Fuller says. I don’t think that turning him into a space-going astronaut would be the direction that we’re going to go in… That’s a criticism that really goes to my heart, that I feel like I’ve failed the fans if those kills aren’t original or that they’re not unique or grisly. You can read the comments and see where the truth is, and you can see as a producer where maybe that kill could’ve been better or we could’ve done something more clever here. However we can bring more clever kills to the second one, that’s what we’re going to do.”
So the original was both not gristly enough to be fetishistic, but also potentially not gristly enough. That’s a fine line for the prolific Platinum Dunes team to walk. One potential innovation that seems like a no-brainer after the winter success of “My Bloody Valentine 3-D” would be bringing the “Friday the 13th” franchise back into 3-D for a sequel.
“It’s certainly been talked about,” Fuller says. “The financial ramifications of doing a movie in 3-D on a budget that size, ’cause it’s not like they’re going to say to us ‘Yeah, well why don’t you make a sequel and here’s twice as much money,’ it doesn’t go that way. Our movies are virtually all the exact same budget and I guarantee you if we make that movie i”ll be the same budget as the original. And we’ll say ‘Hey do you want to do it in 3-D?’ and they’ll say ‘Yeah, let’s talk about it’ and then when they see that it’s six or seven million dollars more they’ll probably opt out unless something that we are not expecting happens. I suspect it will not be in 3-D, although we’d love to make a 3-D horror movie. We’d love to do it; they just don’t throw that money our way.”
Form throws in another complication, adding, “I don’t know if we have the time to be ready for it. If it does all happen, it’ll happen quickly because the film does need to shoot before the winter does come and ’cause the date would be summer next year. So, we’ve talked about how much time to get ready for the 3-D and then how much post time you need which is a lot longer than a non-3-D movie to get it into the theaters and then financially. But I mean from day one when we started talking about the sequel we talked about it being in 3-D.”
Indeed, “Friday the 13th Part 2” (or whatever they decide to call it) probably would have to begin production later this year, prompting a question from reporters about the idea of Jason Voorhees in the snow, which Fuller admitted would be something fresh, though he emphasized that he wouldn’t want the entire movie to be set in a wintery setting. In fact, Fuller wanted to make it clear that, for now at least, talk about the sequel is merely talk.
“‘Friday the 13th Part 2,’ we don’t have a script, it’s not green-lit, and we have no idea what’s going to happen,” Fuller says. “If it gets green-lit and we’re able to mount it in a reasonable amount of time, we would hope the movie would open on August 13, 2010.”
Stay turned for more “Friday the 13th” scuttlebutt.